Professor Nathalie Martin
Resident Scholar Final Report
Fall of 2005
This report was written on my last day as the Robert M. Zinman
Resident Scholar of the American Bankruptcy Institute, an impressive
title with an equally impressive job description, namely to “do
what needs to be done.” My job this Fall consisted primarily
of speaking to the media and at conferences, and writing and editing
various ABI publications. My term coincided with the passage of the
Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005
(“BAPCA”) on October 17, 2005. This made the term
busy, particularly in the lead-up to October 17.
Approximately 60% of my time during the Fall of 2005 was spent
responding to inquiries from the media. Of that time the vast
majority was spent talking to reporters from various print medium, such
as newspapers, magazines, and the internet. I estimate that I have
spoken with between 100 and 120 reporters, some several times. I
always appreciated it when reporters like Terry Brennan from The
Deal read back what they planed to say to avoid misquotes. In
total, I was quoted in about 80 different sources, including the Wall
Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, and many others, including German
and Italian publications.
We also held a satellite media television tour on October 14, 2005,
arranged by our skilled media expert Lissa Hurwitz, just before the new
bankruptcy law went into effect. In that “tour,” John
Penn (ABI President extraordinaire), Sam Gerdano (ABI Executive
Director), and I appeared on over 20 local and national TV shows.
At various times, I also appeared on CNN, ABC, CNBC, and the
Philadelphia legal talk show Law Journal Television hosted by
Christopher Naughton. John Penn and I also hosted an on-line chat at the
Washington Post, where we responded to live written questions from the
audience about bankruptcy reform.
On the written side of the equation, I (along with wonderful ABI
members James Bone, Professor Charles Shafer, Joan Allyn Kodish, and
Alane Beckett), restructured and updated the Consumer Education Page of
our web site to reflect the changes to the law. I also put the
finishing touches on a book written with my husband Stewart Paley
entitled The New Bankruptcy Code and You, a John Wiley
I helped review and edit various ABI books and publications to
reflect the new law, including a book about domestic relations and
bankruptcy entitled When Worlds Collide: Bankruptcy and Its impact
on Domestic Relations and Family Law, authored originally by
Professor and Dean Peter Alexander and Bankruptcy Judge Judith
Fitzgerald, and restructured and rewritten to reflect the new changes in
the law by Professors Michaela White and Marianne Culhane.
I also wrote and edited pieces for our electronic Update
newsletter, including a piece on Judge Alito and bankruptcy, and for the
ABI Journal, including a piece about the examiner’s
report in the Fibermark case.
I attended and /or presented papers at four conferences this
semester, the ABI Southwest Regional Conference in Las Vegas, a
Bankruptcy Conference sponsored by the Central California Bar
Association in Fresno, California, the ABI Winter Leadership Conference
in Palm Desert, and a conference for marital judges and magistrates in
Columbus, sponsored by the State Judicial College of Ohio.
Overall, this has been a busy but highly rewarding experience, and a
highlight of my career so far. I thank the entire ABI staff, one
of the friendliest and most competent groups with which I have ever had
the pleasure to work. I will really miss being part of this
group. I especially thank Sam Gerdano for making this such a
meaningful and worthwhile experience.